Michelle Mone tells Woman’s Hour she has done nothing illegal with tax

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, where she was a guest editor, she also denied she had an offshore account.

Presenter Jenni Murray said Mone had “taken a lot of flak” since it was announced that she would be appointed, as Lady Mone of Mayfair, to the House of Lords.

Murray said there had been allegations of tax avoidance, and questions as to whether she actually owned the “swanky” new flat in which she would be mentoring other people.

Mone responded: “I’ve never done anything illegal regarding my tax and I never will. I do own properties and I’ve never said which ones I own, and I’m very private as well. Some [properties] I rent, some I own.

“I just think that people are quick enough to criticise successful people instead of maybe going the American way, which is to celebrate and congratulate success stories.”

Murray persisted with the tax question and asked if Mone avoided tax. The entrepreneur said she did not have an offshore account.

“Whatever I’ve done in the past has been through a big accountancy firm in Scotland,” she said.

When I owned the business [MJM International] with my ex-husband, that was his position in the company. He dealt with the production and all the finance. I have never done anything to break the law and I never will.

Mone added: “Believe you me, the House of Lords, when you go in there, they absolutely look into you fully. For the last six months they have been doing that as well, and I would never ever become a peer if I was doing anything I wasn’t supposed to be doing.”

Mone said that “never in a million billion trillion years” could she have imagined herself becoming a peer.

Mone is to become Lady Mone in her role as the government’s tsar with a remit to encourage business start-ups in disadvantaged areas.

She said: “What it shows is that if you’re willing to work hard, take risks now and again, that you can make it, you can go wherever you want to go.”

Asked what it was she hoped to bring to the House of Lords, she said: I hope to work my hardest and do what I can to make a difference.

“I just want to go in there – yes it’s a bit nerve-wracking, it’s hard work, you’ve got to be there minimum three days a week and you’ve got to go on some night shift and and some Fridays for voting.

But like everything in life it’s about stretching yourself, and being uncomfortable in that zone. So I can’t wait to start.”